Ozil loving life under Arteta and the return of ‘old virtues’

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Mesut Ozil admits he was a bit surprised by Mikel Arteta’s appointment as Arsenal’s head coach but insists the Spaniard is already proving he’s the right man for the job.

The German endured a very patchy relationship with Unai Emery and quickly fell foul of Freddie Ljungberg’s no-nonsense approach to discipline but appears to be back in favour and form under the Spaniard.

Ahead of Saturday’s trip to Crystal Palace, Ozil said: “Every manager is different and obviously I have had some world class managers throughout my career.

“Mikel Arteta is different to the others but he is very focused on the ball and wants to make us very successful and I think he is the right man at this club.

“I was a bit surprised [Arteta was appointed at Arsenal] but on the other hand, time flies quite quickly and I remember when he went to work with Pep Guardiola at Man City, it was quite obvious he would become a manager soon.

“I am really happy that he is here with us at the moment because this is the right time. We are all happy to have him here.”

Arteta has already spoken about setting up his side to get the best out of the World Cup winner, a teammate at the Emirates for three years, and it appears the values the new head coach is installing are those that Ozil thinks have been missing recently.

“It is basically getting us back to the old Arsenal virtues. Having the possession, being in control of the game, having the ball all the time.

“These are the things that he is working on with us and you can see it – everyone is smiling, laughing, enjoying their time at the moment and this has made us be successful now.

“We are really enjoying everything at the moment. You can see we have a structure on the pitch now. Everyone knows what their job is on the pitch and we are very happy to have won these two games [against United and Leeds].”

He added: “We have a normal relationship. We were team-mates. We respected each other a lot and he was already a team captain at the time so in general players respected him and now he has just continued building up on that.

“As a playmaker, I need a lot of space. His playing style allows me to get that space and it is so important to be successful.”

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Dex
Dex

The best is yet to come. We are all behind the Team progress and we are happy to see at your best again.#COYG

Rich
Rich

At his best?
He’s just run around a bit more than usual, for a total of 4 games, in which he’s managed to go the distance once.

He’s a No10 who rarely scores, rarely assists, and who’s professionalism has continually be called into question, by many at the club.

The Ozilites will cream their pants over him simply doing the basics right, but he’ll have to show this level of consistency in his effort and application for much longer than 4 games, to win many fans back.

He’s been an utter disgrace to the shirt since the ink dried on his current contract.

Obichiddy
Obichiddy

I wished I could down vote multiple times. Take your anger and disappointment elsewhere and be happy for once

Group Captain Mandrake
Group Captain Mandrake

Christ. Who pissed in your cereal this morning? Ozil would have plenty of assists in the last four games if anyone was finishing their chances. Let’s be honest, Ozil is a pretty good player, but he needs the team to be built around him correctly and it seems that Arteta is trying to do that. Hell, he’s even playing defense. You don’t have to be an Ozilite – whatever the hell that is – to appreciate the positives about his game, or that he’s played pretty well since Arteta took over.

Futsboller
Futsboller

Oh dear, Rich. I hope you can get over Emery’s sacking before the season is up and can learn how to enjoy the fluid football we will be playing again under Arteta with Ozil pulling the strings — we need every fan on board to give this team a boost back up where we belong. As Arteta said, it’s a clean slate for all the players — try following his lead if you can rather than poisoning the well.

Rich
Rich

I’m 100% behind Arteta, and have preached nothing but patience around the players and coaching staff.

My problem with Ozil has been, Arsene, Emery, Mertesacker, Freddie all questioning his professionalism, and work ethic.

Throwing his gloves around like a petulant school boy, something even my two lads who are 6+8 know better than to do.

His social media activity that was designed to cause division, on more than one occasion, but specifically after Rennes away last season.

His body language after a poor pass, when he’s continually the laziest player on the pitch.

The Ozilites who are willing to forgive all this, just because he produces the odd worldy moment, or performance like against Leicester in the 3-1 last season, which is the rare exception and not the rule.

I’m happy to defend Xhaka because I think he cares, I don’t see the point in bashing Mustafi his confidence is shot, and he’s just not up to it, I continually preach patience with all the younger players.

But I refuse to except subclass behaviour from a senior professional, who should know better, and rarely looks interested.

Joel
Joel

Have to say Rich, I agreed with the others after your first comment, but you’ve clarified it well here. I agree on Xhaka and Mustafi, and share your frustrations with some of what Ozil does.

I think we differ in that I get so much joy out of the worldy moments and the Leicester matches that, for me, it’s worth the attitude issues. I also think much of what has been below-par from him has been added to by management and fan issues. As frustrating as he can be, I follow football for the moments where I sit back and think ‘holy shit, that was brilliant’ and Ozil creates those moments more than most players. On balance, I don’t think he’s been ‘a disgrace to the shirt’ since signing the contract – I think it just hasn’t worked as we’d have hoped.

But considering all the downvotes you’re getting, I thought it worth saying that I’m happy to agree to disagree on that – you’ve made really fair points in the clarification.

COYG

Futsboller
Futsboller

Fair play to you, Joel, for a reasoned comment, but Rich is far from producing anything of the sort. Which Arsenal player does not frustrate? Which Arsenal player has been consistent this season? The problem is, even when Ozil does play well, his detractors don’t even bother to change their syntax. The greatest shame is having to waste our time defending our players to our own fans, especially when they play well. I’m happy we’re playing well, I’m happy that Ozil is a big part of that, and I hope people like Rich can get over themselves and their petty hangups and enjoy our upward trajectory.

Rich
Rich

Joel, over the past 4 games Ozil has worked hard and linked play well.

If he’s not working hard as part of a unit?

Then he needs to be producing plenty of end product to make up for it.

Over the past 3 seasons he’s not produced enough end product, he’s not produced consistent form since the first half of the 2015/16 season, and his end product fell off the end of a cliff after 2016/17.

Which I could deal with, if he applied himself like he has over the past 4 games, or in the FA cup final in 2017, where he was magnificent.

His professionalism has been called into question by Arsene through to Freddie, this isn’t an isolated incident like with Xhaka.

The performance against Leicester last season will live long in the memory, we’ve not had a player dominate a game like that since Cesc, and then the days of Henry, Pires and Vieria, but they’d consistently dominate games.

It’s much easier to deal with Henry throwing his arms around in frustration, when he’s consistently producing.

If Ozil keeps working like he has been? He’ll get me and many others back on board, but he’s got to consistently get the basics right, something he’s failed to do for far too long.

Gutbukkit Deffrolla
Gutbukkit Deffrolla

Started writing a rebuff of the unrealistic expectations placed on the man. Decided its a waste of time trying to educate the ignorant about real life.

Dave cee
Dave cee

Rich i.m with you on this. Ozil has been pathetic for long stretches of seasons, not just games. The lack of application wouldn’t be acceptable in any player, never mind our most decorated and highly paid .
Truly, it would make me very happy if Ozil was producing top class performances every week and shoving my negative opinions up my ass. That’s what I want to see from him. But it’s got to be week in week out for the rest of that contract for his Arsenal career not to feel like a big miss

A Different George
A Different George

What an insulting, arrogant, pain in the ass you are. On and on about giving Emery time even as it became clear to everyone, no matter their earlier feelings, that he was the wrong man. On and on about Ozil, no matter what is happening on the pitch, no matter how clear it is that he has played well.

Rich
Rich

A different George, this is an Arsenal discussion board.

You don’t have a monopoly on opinions.

Free speech means people have the right to hold opinions that differ to your own, and then are free to express them.

I wanted to give Emery time, just like I’m saying give Arteta time, in the last few weeks of Emery’s reign, I recognised his time was up, as the atmosphere was too toxic, and it was clear he’d lost the dressing room just after Sheffield United away.

But before that, United away, and coming back from 2-0 with 10 men against Villa, there was plenty of fight.

With regards to Ozil, he’s been much better in the last 4 games, and I’ve never doubted his ability, but what we’re seeing now isn’t anything special, it’s just the minimum we should be expecting, which is basically him applying himself.

You just sound like your typical 21st century liberal, insulted by someone who holds an opinion that differs to your own…

B JACK
B JACK

someones having a bad day. go drink a beer or two

Vonnie
Vonnie

You really are a nasty, negative, sad excuse for a Gooner aren’t you. You’ve been a disgrace for a long time, but this is a bright new beginning so why don’t you take your hate and negativity and shove it where it fits best.

Cycs

You really hate him, don’t you?
I take it the missus calls his name when you make love eh…

loose_cannon
loose_cannon

Rich tbh I sympathise with you in that you’re right, Ozil will need to show consistency over more than 4 games before we can really say he’s back to his best. We have been here before with him, he had a couple of good games against Burnley and Leicester at home last season before dropping off. Hopefully he can chip in with some more goals and assists this time round, that should be a minimum for someone in his position.

Also think some of the replies to you have been waaaay over the top and a bit out of order. You lot need to calm down! Everyone is entitled to their opinion, doesn’t make them less of a gooner ✌️.

Frank Bascombe
Frank Bascombe

At his best?
He’s just run around a bit more than usual, for a total of 4 games, in which he’s managed to go the distance once.

He’s a No10 who rarely scores, rarely assists, and who’s professionalism has continually be called into question, by many at the club.

The Ozilites will cream their pants over him simply doing the basics right, but he’ll have to show this level of consistency in his effort and application for much longer than 4 games, to win many fans back.
He’s been an utter disgrace to the shirt since the ink dried on his current contract.

… Man, you’re a fucking drag.

Mintoes
Mintoes

Ozil is a disgrace. This “run of form”…i.e. him being able to actually finish a match rather than his usual getting the hook at 70mins is positively mind blowing lol…let’s hope the midfield butterfly will keep it going and maybe some mug will buy him in January. 350k/wk charlatan.

TUMANG BOKABA
TUMANG BOKABA

That’s a bit, you know, Rich.

The only sp*rs i like is san antonio
The only sp*rs i like is san antonio

Yeah sure free speech can show people how stupid can be. But you are entiled to your own opibion rich and if you have supported Arsenal for 2at least 20+ years like i do, ozil’s is nowhere near “disgrace to the shirt” like you said. There’s still at least Gallas for me to fill that

DaDude

and Xhaka

Dave cee
Dave cee

Gallas cared, and performed. Just a bit sulky lol. Always had a soft spot for him

Richie

The thing with Ozil is that he’s still better than anyone else we have right now in his position. Our front 4 had the beating of United last week and I’d like to see the same 4 start today. You got Ozil to unlock defenses, Pepe for pace, Lacazette for fight, and Auba for goals. 4 assets all bringing different qualities to our forward line. Complaints that Ozil never scores or assists are maybe justified, I haven’t looked at the stats, but how often does he assist the assister? Say what you will about his languid persona on the pitch, and even so called Ozilites can probably agree that he doesn’t justify 350k a week in wages, but he’s still a top class asset for our squad and I’m curious to see if Arteta can get the best out of him in the next few months. He’s going to be especially useful in the Europa League knock-out rounds where the European pace is slower.

David Hilliers Arm Cast
David Hilliers Arm Cast

Very positive responses from our star player which really excites me for the future. Arteta has wasted no time in changing things for the better and hopefully we can end the season with a trophy of some kind.

Jonyb
Jonyb

I love ozil and an ozil playing to the best of his ability is still one of the best in the world. I’m sure I’m probably reading too much into it but “in general players respected him” I would love to know more about that, in general is certainly not emphatic is it, were there players annoyed under Arteta? I heard he was difficult but this is interesting to me! COYG x

Santori
Santori

The good thing is Arteta has managed to get these players to respond.

Whether of course it can sustain we will have to see.

We’ve been here before with Wenger (victories over Chelsea then 10 game unbeaten runs) and even Unai (also unbeaten runs last season for a spell, victory over Spurs)

We need to see effort sustained.

Ozil has improved his performances under Arteta. But so have Torreira and Granit which is critical for the team as these players are the main stay in the engine room. With good direction and by all accounts in second half of last match, GUendouzi will also play a big part.

Other players I’ve seen positive signs Aubameyang. As much as he scores, he is still wasteful when we at times need to establish control in a game. He also is non competitive for the high balls and retention level can improve.

But he has put in more work tracking back since Arteta has come in. The hope is of course Pepe can do the same and add more consistency to as far sporadic impact.

Each player is different some will need more carrot some more stick some both so we will have to see how it develops and if Arteta can sustain performances. There is as mention room for a lot more improvement necessary to catch up with 4th in the table plus Europa and FA still to play for.

A Different George
A Different George

I think the key thing Arteta has done is create a structure based on the strengths of the players he has. Within that structure, players have a good sense of what they need to do, where they should be, and then the freedom to attempt to implement it. (So, for example, not only the pairing of Torreira and Xhaka, but also where they play in relation to each other.)

As for Ozil, when we don’t have the ball he often retreats to the centre of the pitch, perhaps twenty yards into our own half, to prevent space for an opposing midfielder to control that area. He’s not “tracking back” in the sense of running back with an opponent–easy to see for fans to appreciate, and not really part of the modern game. He is retreating to a position where he is part of a coherent defensive strategy. And one that lends itself to his transitioning the team to attack.

Arsenaltilidie
Arsenaltilidie

You certainly know your stuff George, at last someone who actually knows about football.
Are you a coach ar some level by any chance?

ArseneIntelligence
ArseneIntelligence

A greatly appreciated comment.

goonshow
goonshow

Is that glass of yours EVER half full Santa?

shmokin'em
shmokin'em

Oh my god! I never thought I’d see the day I pretty much agree with what you say. Thumbs up, the lift is amazing.

Marco
Marco

Mesut loves Emre Can as well.

Laca New Signing
Laca New Signing

Cue the angry comments about his wages and “work rate”… (Unai Emery’s pathetic excuse to make Özil a scapegoat for his own clueless tactics and formations)

HulaHoopsBaptista
HulaHoopsBaptista

Ozil really has the opportunity to stick it to Emry’s already beleaguered reputation if he keeps playing well. Funny how quickly things change in football.

Damobot
Damobot

Exactly!!! Not many Arsenal supporters play or have played football to understand why Ozil struggled the last couple of years. We have been playing differently and the emphasis has been less on midfield to orchestrate play. We have lost many on the ball midfielders and runners and have not replaced them. People like Cazorla, Sanchez, Ramsey, Iwobi and even Mkhitarian so Ozil doesn’t have many options around or in front of him to transition play from defence to attack. Now the ball is moving forward quicker not only by Xhaka and Torreira but by Luiz and Maitlaind-Niles too. I really like how their passes are crisper and faster and even instinctive than it was couple of weeks ago.

Obichiddy
Obichiddy

I honestly have been so cool since Arteta came in. Proper football ideas, has personality, speaks multiple languages, intelligent and has learned from arguably best managers from different eras. I am living better now not thinking to much of what the coach should do. Happy times. He signed up 3&half yrs contract, let him do that despite any unforeseen future problems/losses. #trusttheprocess #COYG

YaGunnersYa
YaGunnersYa

Provided that Arteta can continue to demand intensity and consistency from Özil, may the forthcoming cycle of matches be virtuous indeed. Ya Gunners!

Tom
Tom

The Old Virtues: Prudence. Courage. Temperance. Justice. Possession-based football.

Values to live your life by.

Liam Bergkamp

Methinks Tom is very familiar with material from the likes of Seneca, Epictetus, Marcus Aurelius, Zeno etc?

YaGunnersYa
YaGunnersYa

Football was an art under Wenger; Arteta’s use of the Sokratic method can complement that with the scientific approach too.

Anthony
Anthony

West Ham away on a cold February Saturday and I’m afraid Ozil would go missing. Great ball player but no spine for PL

Martinellis belly
Martinellis belly

We recently played West Ham away in the middle of winter and Ozil had a big hand in the goals. Don’t you watch us? ?

Richie

Can he do it on a cold January at Crystal Palace?

loose_cannon
loose_cannon

Not been a fan of his output over the last few years and even his biggest supporters must admit he’s not been nearly consistent enough for us. I can’t blame the club for wanting to get rid but Arteta seems to have given him a spark. When he plays with the kind of intensity we’ve seen recently he’s a top player. Let’s hope he can keep it up.

robbo
robbo

I like Ozil but I think it’s clear he’s not the kind of guy who can lift a team on his own. These comments are fine but they’re not a ringing endorsement of Arteta. He says Arteta is the right manager for us, right now. He’s not saying Arteta is a genius who could coach anywhere and we’re just lucky to have him. That’s fair, though. I am pretty sure Arteta is going to be exactly that, the right man at the right time. What I still hope is that he turns out to be hella special. The real thing. But we’ll only know this in a year or two.